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‘Garbled’ Playback Using Helix to Monitor in DAW


scott_riley
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Hi friends!

 

Having a weird issue with Helix + DAW and wondering if anyone else has encountered it:

 

Latest Mac OSX. Using USB to direct record and monitor — all playback of anything I record is garbled beyond recognition (clicks, pops, stutters, dropouts, literally fubar).

 

*Any* other audio on my Mac is totally fine coming through the Helix (Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud etc. etc.) and it only happens in a DAW. Confirmed that the sample rate of the DAW project matches my Helix settings (48k) so it’s not that either! Multiple restarts of Helix and Mac didn’t fix.

 

Only happens when I try to play back from inside a DAW, but have tested with both Logic and Bitwig Studio – the actual recording from Helix is totally fine and if I use my iMacs speakers to monitor the audio it’s all completely as expected.

 

Any tips as to where to start looking would be grand!

 

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By chance how many things do you have plugged into usb 2.0 slots on your pc?

 

If you have a usb 3.0 slot try plugging into that. You may just have too many usb 2.0 things plugged in to accomodate an 8 in, and 8 out audio interface without interruption.

 

I have half a dozen usb 2.0 in use on my pc.  Mine was popping and crackling, moment I went to USB 3.0 that stopped, because I hardly have anything plugged into the USB 3.0 slots.

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Hi friends!

 

Having a weird issue with Helix + DAW and wondering if anyone else has encountered it:

 

Latest Mac OSX. Using USB to direct record and monitor — all playback of anything I record is garbled beyond recognition (clicks, pops, stutters, dropouts, literally fubar).

 

*Any* other audio on my Mac is totally fine coming through the Helix (Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud etc. etc.) and it only happens in a DAW. Confirmed that the sample rate of the DAW project matches my Helix settings (48k) so it’s not that either! Multiple restarts of Helix and Mac didn’t fix.

 

Only happens when I try to play back from inside a DAW, but have tested with both Logic and Bitwig Studio – the actual recording from Helix is totally fine and if I use my iMacs speakers to monitor the audio it’s all completely as expected.

 

Any tips as to where to start looking would be grand!

 

 

 

Hi Scott,

 

Well this certainly sounds familiar to me and some others out here in Helixland.

 

First suggestion, if you haven't already done it, is to download and install the custom USB driver for Mac OSX.

 

Helix Mac Driver 1.00 Public Beta from here: http://line6.com/software/index.html

 

Make sure tick the box for the Beta version or it won't show up.

 

This seems to have fixed the playback issues for many Mac users.

 

Sadly - for some weird reason this didn't work for me and it went from bad to worse.

 

Then for no apparent reason the audio glitches have gone but I now don't have the facility to re-amp the DAW through Helix USB and MIDI is totally FUBAR.

 

Since early March this year I have been soldiering on with an annoyingly malfunctioning Mac/Helix combo, despite raising a ticket with CS which had it's status later updated to "escalated" on May 30. Seems "escalated" means a solution was in progress, but with no idea of a final fix date available, other than "maybe next Firmware update".

 

If you would care to check out the thread that I started about my Mac audio/midi issues - look here.

http://line6.com/support/topic/19463-bizarre-audio-midi-fault-its-driving-me-nuts/

 

Hope this helps.

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So, if I close anything that might play audio (even if there’s no audio playing) e.g. Spotify, Chrome with Facebook/YouTube/Soundcloud open, QuickTime, playback is fine again for a little while, but the issue seems to creep back up after a 20 minutes or so.

 

Then I have to quit my DAW, quit any current running apps, re-load my project and it’s back to normal for 20 minutes again. Rinse and repeat.

 

When the ‘garbled’ playback happens, it affects everything that plays audio on my Mac, so if I’m listening to Spotify and have my DAW open, Spotify will go fubar along with any audio playback in my DAW.

 

Helix is the only USB device plugged in to my iMac!

 

datacommando – I’ll give the new driver a try and see how it goes, thank you!

 

EDIT: Just to give a better description of how the playback gets mangled: it sounds like it’s been bitcrushed to death; super square distortion type sound making everything unintelligible, as well as harsh, choppy dropouts every 500ms or so.

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EDIT: Just to give a better description of how the playback gets mangled: it sounds like it’s been bitcrushed to death; super square distortion type sound making everything unintelligible, as well as harsh, choppy dropouts every 500ms or so.

 

Hi again, Scott,

 

Yep - the bit crusher effect is exactly the way I first described this issue, so I'm guessing the custom OSX driver may fix it for you. If not - welcome to hell.

 

If you haven't done so already, check out this other thread discussing the known issues and stuff that the new driver fixes. 

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/19809-helix-mac-driver-100-public-beta-now-available/

 

There seems to have been a lot of problems with certain Mac models and none at all with others. It's all very mysterious stuff. Maybe the alien intelligence that devised the Helix have teleported back to their own dimension without giving L6 all the answers!

 

Let's know how you progress.

 

Good luck.

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Hi again, Scott,

 

Yep - the bit crusher effect is exactly the way I first described this issue, so I'm guessing the custom OSX driver may fix it for you. If not - welcome to hell.

 

If you haven't done so already, check out this other thread discussing the known issues and stuff that the new driver fixes. 

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/19809-helix-mac-driver-100-public-beta-now-available/

 

There seems to have been a lot of problems with certain Mac models and none at all with others. It's all very mysterious stuff. Maybe the alien intelligence that devised the Helix have teleported back to their own dimension without giving L6 all the answers!

 

Let's know how you progress.

 

Good luck.

 

Well, another attempt today and I have the Helix driver installed and followed all instructions and I still get regular audio drop-outs and the same behaviour so I’ve either done something totally wrong (Although I’m dim, I followed every step) or something within my OS/Helix/Every DAW I have installed is fubar.

 

I’ve not tried any serious Helix <-> DAW stuff on this iMac before, only on a MacBook Pro that worked fine and smoothly, and was super excited to record some ideas, alas, 2 days of trouble and botched workflow means 0 creative output!

 

Thanks for all the tips so far!

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Well, another attempt today and I have the Helix driver installed and followed all instructions and I still get regular audio drop-outs and the same behaviour so I’ve either done something totally wrong (Although I’m dim, I followed every step) or something within my OS/Helix/Every DAW I have installed is fubar.

 

I’ve not tried any serious Helix <-> DAW stuff on this iMac before, only on a MacBook Pro that worked fine and smoothly, and was super excited to record some ideas, alas, 2 days of trouble and botched workflow means 0 creative output!

 

Thanks for all the tips so far!

 

Damn!

 

I was hoping that was going to be a real quick fix for you!

 

Note: you had it working O.K. on a MBP -yes?

Question: was it the same OSX on that model and which model iMac and specific OSX are you having the problem with? - maybe we can narrow it down to OSX specific!

 

Other than that - hang on in there because the rumour mill has started to grind out that a new Firmware update is due quite soon. Hopefully this should be the BIG BUG SQUASHER that fixes all this crud, rather than a slew of hundreds fantasy amps and esoteric FX that no-one,wants, needs, or will ever use. We  need a Helix that JUST WORKS properly! This far down the line - 4 months of serious malfunctions for me - let's hope for some pure technical fixes to get the mystical black box to work as advertised. I've been using Line 6 gear right from the first kidney bean POD, if I really needed a thousand variations of a few select amps would have bought a Fractal Ax. Let's hope, you and me both, don't have to jump ship to find something that does what it is advertised as being able to do!

 

Oops! I'd better be careful on this forum, don't want to upset the faithfull. Flame off!

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Damn!

 

I was hoping that was going to be a real quick fix for you!

 

Note: you had it working O.K. on a MBP -yes?

Question: was it the same OSX on that model and which model iMac and specific OSX are you having the problem with? - maybe we can narrow it down to OSX specific!

 

Other than that - hang on in there because the rumour mill has started to grind out that a new Firmware update is due quite soon. Hopefully this should be the BIG BUG SQUASHER that fixes all this crud, rather than a slew of hundreds fantasy amps and esoteric FX that no-one,wants, needs, or will ever use. We  need a Helix that JUST WORKS properly! This far down the line - 4 months of serious malfunctions for me - let's hope for some pure technical fixes to get the mystical black box to work as advertised. I've been using Line 6 gear right from the first kidney bean POD, if I really needed a thousand variations of a few select amps would have bought a Fractal Ax. Let's hope, you and me both, don't have to jump ship to find something that does what it is advertised as being able to do!

 

Oops! I'd better be careful on this forum, don't want to upset the faithfull. Flame off!

 

Pretty certain the MBP was pre-El Capitan days (Probs last version of Yosemite) – current iMac is 27" 5k model, running the latest version of El Cap.

 

I’m basically trying full restarts every time it messes up in the hopes of a random fix, so yep, eagerly awaiting that update ;)

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Pretty certain the MBP was pre-El Capitan days (Probs last version of Yosemite) – current iMac is 27" 5k model, running the latest version of El Cap.

 

I’m basically trying full restarts every time it messes up in the hopes of a random fix, so yep, eagerly awaiting that update ;)

 

Yep - mine is a 27" 5k Retina also and I have recently upgraded from El Cap 10.11.4 to the latest v10.11.5. IIRC, a beta test of 10.11.6 is available, but I think I will wait for OSX Sierra 10.12 to arrive.

 

As previously noted - the custom driver didn't seem to solve the problem on my 5k so I removed it.

1. Navigate to Macintosh HD/Library/Extensions. Inside the Extensions folder, you should see an item named “L6Helix.kext.†Drag this file to the trash.

2. Empty the trash and restart your computer. Helix will return to using the class-compliant OS X Core Audio driver.

 

O.K. So I'm guessing that you have run all the usual Mac fix-it routines, repair prefs, permissions etc. And, of course, the Helix is running the latest FW 1.12.0.

 

Zap the PRAM - Turn on your Mac and hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys all at the same time (all four keys). Keep holding down all four keys until you hear the startup sound for a second time. If you do not hear the startup sound twice, then you most likely have not reset the PRAM - try again!

 

Reset SMC (system management controller) - Shut down the Mac. Unplug the power cord on the back. Wait 15 seconds. Plug the power cord back in. Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button to turn on the Mac. It's a little bit of Mac voodoo that sometime helps!

 

Have a look in the Audio Midi Setup (in the Utilities folder) - Helix should show up as an available input/output audio device. If you now playback an audio stream, iTunes, YouTube, whatever - you can switch between the iMac built in output and Helix output to check for and compare any distortion.

 

I don't know what bug was causing the "bitcrusher" effect and if it was my system tricks that made it vanish but that was the least of my problems with Helix. Four months later and I'm still stuck with the MIDI/USB audio problems. Luckily, the sounds I can get out of the Helix are spectacular - even though it's like driving a muscle car with only 3 wheels - and that's not what I paid for!

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